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Monday, April 18, 2011

I am that mom & Day 85. 280 Days Left.

I am the mom who regularly bribes and negotiates for the simple purpose of preserving order. Otherwise known as the by WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY method.

My sole goal is to avoid a major pint sized meltdown at. all. cost. I have employed both of these tactics (at times, simultaneously!).

I have fine tuned and mastered the art of child bribery. My finest moment as a mom.

Typically when out shopping I am already teetering with fatigue, keeping my sanity, I am alone with two toddlers, outnumbered and most often out smarted. Often, Addison or Jackson (sometime both Addison & Jackson) will get restless, start whining, even crying in the middle of the grocery store. As much as I would like to think I can handle it, in many cases, the bribery option makes the most sense and works most quickly. At this time, I tell them if they are quiet for mommy I will go to the bakery and get them each a sugar cookie. If I get the cookie before I begin shopping, they both have it devoured half way through my list. This way they are quiet while I get the majority of the items off my list while patiently waiting for that coveted cookie.

When it comes to dinner Addison is very difficult. I try to get through the meal with little chaos. Addison if you eat your dinner you can have a treat. I have recently found that this particular tactic backfired. Case in point the “I am mad and mad girls don’t eat” night and most recently, Addison was not eating her dinner. We told her if she finished her plate she could have a treat- an Italian icee. A few more minutes passed and Addison still had not taken a bite of her chicken…

Addison: I am ready for my icee.

Mommy: You did not eat your dinner. After you finish your dinner you may have one.

Addison: but I am ready for it now mommy.

Mommy: Addison what did I just tell you?

Addison: (after an extended blank stare) mommy? please? can I have my icee? I want the red one.

This back and forth went on several minutes.

Addison: Mommy you are wasting my time and making me mad. Mad little girls are not happy and don’t eat their dinner. Happy girls eat their icee.

Clearly mommy is outsmarted.

I think the problem is we all have an "ideal" world in which we have been socialized to base our parenting skills, but in reality, being able to keep up with this Utopia is impossible for even the most patient of parents. This is why I resort to bribery. But, I also think it teaches them a valuable lesson. That sometimes you have to work for the things you want and if you work for it you can be rewarded for your good behavior.

I think it's time that we as parents give ourselves a collective break - in other words, stop being so hard on ourselves and feeling so guilty. If it helps us keep our sanity and if it works than why the hell not?

Do you use bribery or negotiate with your children?

Day 85

Spring Fun... more bubble time


Alicia Stucky said...

We're terrible when it comes to dinnertime. We kind of went with the Popeye approach. We started off well, teaching our son that healthy food helps build strong muscles - like daddy's! Whenever the two of them would roughhouse, Daddy would point out that HE was stronger because HE ate all his dinner the night before... then it all kind of escelated until now, where everytime our son takes a bite of dinner, he challenges his dad to an immediate arm wrestling match - which of course, he wins. I don't know that all families would be okay with hosing arm wrestling matches at the dinner table lol, but it works for us.

mommysankey said...

Alicia- arm wrestling would fall into the Whatever means necessary... I am all for "if it works"... I am ok with so much more than I ever thought. I remember being that person who judged other moms (to myself) thinking I would never do that with my children... funny, now I am that mom and I do so much more.

heidi said...

I just call it rewarding or positive reinforcement. HA! We get a donut at the beginning of shopping and race through the store before they finish it all. Generally we have to hit 3 stores so then I promise pizza for lunch at the end, if they behave.

We do what we gotta do.

Cabubsmom said...

Wow, my kids are horrible when it comes to dinner! They never want what I make and I come from a family where, "this is what mom's making and if you don't want it, too bad, it's whats for dinner", but my husband comes from the family that will make seperate meals for everyone just to make everyone happy, which drives me NUTS! I still haven't found what works for my family because my kids are old enough to figure me out LOL!

OneMommy said...

I love reading your blogs b/c your kids always remind me of my own! Such a smart little girl! Sometimes I, too, resort to a little bribery to get them to eat. Sometimes it works on my daughter, but my son is a "Give me the sweet thing now or I scream at the top of my lungs" kind of I have to whisper the bribe to her and hope she doesn't say it out loud or chaos is multiplied...

Skye said...

LOL I haven't gotten to this point yet - but this was funny (kind of lol) to read. Although now that I think about it, I do often stick a cracker in Jules hand when she starts gettnig antsy at a restaurant. Does that count at 11 mos? It keeps her quiet... LOL

Cassandra said...

Much as I hate it, yes I am that mom too.